Raising Mental Health Issues – Other than Insanity – In Juvenile Delinquency Defense
13 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2013
Date Written: 2000
Juvenile delinquency cases often require the child’s attorney to identify and handle mental health issues presented by the client. Because most attorneys have no formal training in medicine, psychology or mental health issues, the client’s initial conduct observable during the early stages of an attorney-client interview may be necessary to help determine the juvenile’s mental state. Nevertheless, the juvenile’s possible mental health concerns may not present themselves or be readily apparent, and coupled with counsel’s lack of education or training in mental health such mental health issues may easily be overlooked. Thus, the importance of interviewing family members plays a vital role in identifying a juvenile’s possible mental health problems. Counsel should not overlook the family privacy rights if raising a mental health issue is a component of the defense strategy. Accordingly, counsel should seek to establish strong relationships with mental health experts in the community to help ensure that the child’s mental health issues are properly identified and diagnosed, thus contributing to a well-founded defense for the juvenile client.
Keywords: Juvenile, Delinquency, Mental Health, Privacy, Defense, Child’s Counsel
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